Jeff & Lorraine King
Time to put down our roots
"We absolutely love our home
and given the chance again there is almost nothing that we would do differently ”
Land Cost: £365,000 with old bungalow
Build Cost: £245,000
Current Value: Unknown
Lorraine & Jeff purchased the land in 2010 with a bungalow already on it, the people who owned it previously had used it as a holiday home. The whole plot was overgrown with trees and shrubs a great many had to be removed.
The original idea was to completely renovate the existing building and add an extension, but on looking at the possibilities and the costs to bring the bungalow up to today’s insulation standards, that idea was abandoned in favour of a new build.
The site was always going to be difficult, the access was not perfect, and the huge difference in ground levels was obviously going to be expensive but they absolutely loved the site and the potential it offered.
They worked on numerous plans together and couldn’t really come up with an idea that would suit their lifestyle, they had moved home numerous times over the years and this was to be the house where they would finally put down their roots.
Then they remembered the company that they had followed for many years and who at the time had very few designs to offer, they had visited the Potton show houses in the early 1990s but then decided to shelve the idea.
In 2012 when revisiting the Potton self-build centre at St Neots they were delighted to learn that the company not only had a much larger portfolio, but were able to offer a complete bespoke service to suit both the client’s needs and the site itself.
As it turned out both Lorraine and Jeff liked the basic design of the Hazlehurst bungalow so sat down with Richard Hall the self-build specialist from Potton and after some changes and amendments came up with the final design. After living in the South of France for some time the couple had some firm ideas of how they wanted to live, Richard worked from home most of the time except for the odd excursion up to London for meetings so he needed an office, Lorraine liked to cook and had some great ideas for her dream kitchen, including soft lighting for the preparation area and double doors leading out to the rear garden which they both loved working in.
The couple were quite sure that they didn’t want any involvement with the actual building of the house, and they certainly did not want to live on site so their input was really the designing of the house and the choosing of all of the fixtures and fittings and external cladding materials.
How much did it cost? In 2010 the land with the old bungalow on cost £365,000 but they did manage to keep the old Gazebo / Sun House which is fully restored with Cedar shingles on the roof, a lovely little retreat at the end of the formal garden.
"The build cost came out to £245,000 in the end but we absolutely love our home and given the chance again there is almost nothing that we would do differently although Lorraine sometimes wishes she would have had wider doors leading from the kitchen to the garden so not a lot at all!" Says Jeff. "The current estimated value of the property is unknown, and we are happy to leave it that way…This is our home and it is not important."
Would they do it again? "Well, most probably not …but if we did, we would certainly only do it with Alan and his team and Potton!"
The Build Journey..
Once the planning was granted, Richard Hall put the couple in touch with a builder from Kent who had built many Potton houses, including coincidentally his own around the time Lorraine and Jeff were first looking at Potton all those years ago.
Alan Manwaring’s building company is a family business with a mass of experience so they were the obvious choice. The major part of the initial work on site once the old bungalow had been removed was to prepare a plateau where in fact the new home could be sited. This ground works and the removal of a number of non-indigenous trees was carried out by Matt Manwaring, Alan’s son. who had to move tons of soil from the site in order to get the right levels “we had about 13 lorry loads of soil out of here” said Jeff "and now when you look at the finished house you would never believe it had looked any different “
"The Potton kit was delivered and from then on generally everything went like clockwork. We even used the brand new French doors we had bought, but never used for our last house, they provided us access to our little private garden off of our bedroom. We used underfloor heating which is driven by a pair of Grant “Aerona” air source heat pumps which together with the high levels of insulation in the Potton kit provide us with extremely low heating and hot water bills. I suppose that was our only step towards green living, but it was adequate for us” says Jeff
"The Manwaring team were just faultless throughout the whole build process, we finally moved in December 2012 and celebrated the first Christmas in our new home. When we experienced a teething problem with our electrics on Christmas morning, Alan was over like a flash to resolve the problem for us, we couldn’t ask anyone for more!"